Canadian judoka Kyle Reyes once again climbed to the top of the podium in the under-100 kg category at the Pan-American Championships in Guadalajara on Friday. He doubled the Canadian team’s haul after Kelly Deguchi snagged a bronze medal in under-57 kg competition on Thursday.
Reyes, who is ranked 30th in the world, was invincible, winning all three of his matches. He earned his fourth career Pan-American Championships medal today, but it was his first gold.
In Friday’s final round, he defeated Chile’s Thomas Briceno by ippon to earn the top honours.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve placed first, so I’m really happy,” said Reyes, who finished fifth at the Antalya Grand Slam two weeks ago. “The final bout was a little tougher than I expected, but I’m glad I was able to pull off the harai-goshi.”
Reyes began the tournament with a victory over Lewis Medina of the Dominican Republic, who received three penalties during their match. The 27-year-old then bested American Nathaniel Keeve by ippon in just 24 seconds to clinch his spot in the final and finish the day with a flourish.
“I waited for the right opportunities to present themselves and then I took advantage of them. I didn’t think my second bout would be so easy, but I got lucky and I’m really glad,” said the Ontarian, who previously defeated Keeve to win a bronze medal at the most recent Pan American Championships in November 2020.
In women’s competition, Coralie Godbout fought in the under-78 kg group. The Quebecker lost her first-round match to Cuba’s Kaliema Antomarchi, who went on to win silver. She then bowed out to Argentina’s Lucia Cantero in the repechage.
Bronze for Kelly Deguchi
On Thursday, Kelly Deguchi reached the third step of the podium in the under 57-kg category at the tournament in Mexico. After receiving a bye in the first round, the Canadian lost by waza-ari to Ketelyn Nascimento of Brazil, who later won silver.
However, Deguchi was not quite done. She bounced back in the repechage to beat Cynthia Rahming of the Bahamas by ippon. She then overcame American Leilani Akiyama by ippon to clinch bronze.
Amélie Grenier (-52 kg)lost her only match on Thursday to Aracely Barrionuevo of Ecuador.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the result I was hoping for after going a whole year without competing. But each win and each loss provides me with a learning experience,” stated Grenier, who was participating the Pan-American Championships for the first time. “I’ll shake this one off and train even harder for my next competitions.”